Sunday, September 10, 2006


It is certainly not news that Mississippi's Medicaid program is in trouble. Actually, officials predict a $360 million shortfall in state funding for this program alone. The cost of Medicaid has grown dramatically over the past 5 years, as jobs are lost and more families find themselves without basic medical coverage.

So what is the solution to the state's woes? Should we dip into the scared "tobacco trust fund"? The money would be at least be used for health care and it is a safe bet the many of the health problems treated with Medicaid dollars are directly or indirectly linked to tobacco use.

What happened to the gaming panacea that was promised? The only roads that have been improved seem to lead to casinos, and as for education, unless you live in Tunica County, you probably haven't seen any impact.

So, how will we deal with this growing Medicaid debt? The state of Mississippi has come up with a novel solution. It is essentially a Robin Hood approach which promotes taxing the successful health care providers and giving it to the unsuccessful providers... a simple redistribution of wealth proposal, with a hint of socialism.

Mississippi Hospital Association opposes "taxing the rich to pay for the poor" since all hospitals, both public and private would be impacted. However, our Governor, Mr. Barbour, has proposed an alternate plan which would simply tax the private hospitals (these are the one's who currently pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in local property taxes, sales tax, state and federal taxes, etc.) and give it to the publicly owned facilities (like DRMC, which pays NO property taxes, NO sales tax and NO state and federal tax).

Wow, Haley! What a great idea. Let's penalize those hospitals which are fiscally sound, run efficiently, and make a profit for their investors, and funnel their tax dollars into our failing county owned hospitals! That way we can level the quality of care for all Mississippi residents and make sure that "Medicaid" is the standard of care for everyone!

And we wonder why businesses and industry do not want to relocate to Mississippi? If socialized health care is what we aspire to, then let's just do it. At least everyone knows what they have (or don't have) and can then work together toward improving it.

Ray Humphrys, wading through red ink up to his knees, obviously supports the Governor's plan, under which he (DRMC) would profit. I shall not elaborate further on that unholy alliance.

Suffice to say, that Haley Barbour's political grandstanding to get re-elected falls short of representing Mississippi's best interests for health care.



Anonymous said...

And how about our neighbors in Cleveland going to our neighbors in Indianola and asking them to gang up on Greenville? What mean-spirited sumbitch came up with that plan? As of today, I am personally boycotting all Cleveland restaurants and retail establishments until this federal building matter is resolved. My money stays in Greenville.

Local Reflector said...

The courthouse issue is interesting, as is Forthright's comments on socialized Mississippi medical care. I think the blog can handle two lines of thought.

To Anonymous: Would you consider a guest commentary on the issue which builds upon the comments you've posted above?

I see nothing wrong with the political maneuvering of Bolivar County to prove it's "hungry" for a new federal courthouse. The building is up for grabs, so why shouldn't there be competition?

If Greenville sits back and "fights" instead of showing why the federal courthouse should remain there, then it deserves its fate. One strategy is proactive, the other is reactive.

Proactive strategies lay out the reasons why a federal courthouse is necessary for the Port House - whatever those reasons may be. And, don't give me the whole angle that it should stay because it's historically been here. That's not a good reason.

Reactive strategies suggest whining by local politicians but no real movement or even clout to influence the decision-makers on higher political levels.

It's simple, isn't it?

Greenville leaders possess an uncanny ability to cry that nothing's "their fault" - that somehow or some way, their victims of phantom recessions and "bad luck." Better yet, unflattering news breaks and they scatter to get away from addressing the issue.

A. Look at the Burn Center closure
B. Look at repeated complaints on street repair
C. Look at brown water

Hinging your political fortunes on one, lower-level, U.S. Representative can open a county or city to be ignored when events happen beyond one person's control.

Greenville's influence problem is showing. Do they still have that lobbyist on a retainer?

Also, "law and order" hasn't been the rule, but the exception, in the Port City in a good number of years.

But, least it appears it's trying.

NOTE: I'm not trying to provoke anger, but the conversation is interesting because I'd like to know why Greenville is superior to Cleveland for a federal courthouse and vice versa.